Moapa Valley’s 4th-quarter push ends Fallon’s season

Wave finishes as top-four team after battling COVID, injuries

The Greenwave breaks for the final time after dropping a 42-21 decision to Moapa Valley on Saturday.

The Greenwave breaks for the final time after dropping a 42-21 decision to Moapa Valley on Saturday.

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OVERTON — The defense held as long as it could but Fallon’s inconsistent offense couldn’t keep up as Moapa Valley stayed unbeaten this season after a 42-21 win in Saturday’s 3A state semifinal game.
Moapa Valley faces Virgin Valley, a 23-16 winner over Elko, in the state championship on Thursday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
“They made plays. They’re a well-coached team,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said. “They did a lot of good things. They made a lot of plays and we didn’t. The key to the game was that we couldn’t run the ball in the first half, really the whole game like we needed to. It’s kind of been our blueprint the last month and they took that away.”
All season, the Greenwave football team battled adversity.
“That is a credit to the kids and coaches that I have that, just week to week, went to work with whatever was thrown at us,” Hill said. “We just had to move forward. From COVID to injuries to other things out of our control to every week to put our best effort out there, they did that.”
With COVID-19 and injuries decimating the roster, especially early in the season, Fallon grinded. After a humbling loss to Elko on the road in mid-October, Fallon won four-straight games, including knocking off the only undefeated team (North Valleys) in the region, to set up a showdown on Saturday with the South’s best team.
“After that Elko game, we were really struggling. They bought in,” Hill said. “That was awesome. It’s a very satisfying season. It’s not quite like winning a state title, but it feels pretty good to get these kids to this point.”
For the 16-member senior class, Hill said he was proud of them for leading the team through this year’s challenges.
“They carried on our program. It’s an awesome senior class that just guides the way,” Hill added. “Next year’s seniors are up and hopefully, that’s how our program rolls. They stepped up and took on that challenge. What an awesome class. A lot of those kids came up in 2019 with that state title game so they’ve been in a lot of playoff games. They’ve gotten to see that and participate. It’s a very successful senior class. I’m proud of all of them.”
By the time Saturday’s game was out of reach late in the fourth quarter, it was important to end the game on a high note.
After Moapa Valley extended its lead to four touchdowns with a minute left, Fallon started its final drive of the season 35 yards away from the end zone. Quarterback Keaton Williams found Ethan Tarner for a first-down completion before Reese Kincaid, a safety who was out on due to a hamstring injury, came into the game to finish the scoring drive. Kincaid hauled in a 21-yard pass to set Fallon up in the red zone and two plays and one timeout later, Kincaid punched in Fallon’s final touchdown with 9.5 seconds left in the season.
“He wanted to do it. It was awesome to get him that,” Hill said of Kincaid’s score. “That’s why we called a timeout to get him the touchdown. It’s just how this team was. He was a grinder and that’s what this team did.”

Monica Ranson/LVN
Fallon’s Tyler Austin, right, celebrates with Ethan Tarner after scoring a touchdown in the first half against Moapa Valley on Saturday.


All but one of Moapa Valley’s scoring drives benefited from either a third- or fourth-down conversion, including three with the Pirates facing 10 or more yards.
“We had too many reps in the first half. You can’t win games doing that,” Hill said. “That wasn’t part of the game plan. The game plan was to keep the ball on offense and have that be our best defense. And we didn’t. We didn’t run a lot of plays in the first half offensively.”
After a late touchdown strike in the first half to get on the board, Fallon had momentum heading into the locker room. Despite Moapa Valley scoring on its first drive to open the second half, the Greenwave kept the game to one possession.
“(Moapa Valley’s) mindset is they got the ball and they’ve got to score. Those first drives of the half are huge and we have to get a stop,” Hill said. “The kids fought back. It was a one-score game and we had two third-and-longs on both drives that they scored on. If we get stops there, who knows. It’s a one-score game still.”
In its longest drive of the game — a 14-play series that began on the Fallon 32, the Greenwave overcame a penalty on third down to convert twice on fourth down. With the ball on Moapa Valley’s 35 and facing a fourth-and-18, Williams found Isiah Diaz, who came across the middle, to give Fallon a first down on the 17. A screen to Steven Moon put Fallon 5 yards from the end zone and on fourth-and-one, Williams swept the right side, walking into the end zone with a minute left in the third quarter.
On the next series, the Pirates faced third-and-10 from their own 30 but Peyton Neilson’s 15-yard keeper extended the drive. An 18-yard screen to Landon Wrzesinski across the middle led to Neilson’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Gunner Redd on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Moapa Valley a 28-14 lead.
“(They had) really good play calls against the defenses we had,” Hill said. “We can’t lose the quarterback. We had him flustered and he got out on us and made a play with his legs. We knew he could do that and he did. That’s just a credit to the kid making a play. The other one was a really good play call against the defense.”
The Pirates scored the next two touchdowns to break the game open.
Fallon was forced to punt on fourth-and-six but the defense had the Pirates backed up, facing a third-and-17 from their own 39. Neilson found Austin Heiselbetz, who snuck between Tyler Austin, Francisco Tapia and Tristan Hill, to break free down the sideline for a 61-yard touchdown with 8:31 left in the game.
The Greenwave benefited from a helmet-to-helmet penalty on their next drive when Roland Grondin scampered down the field into Pirates territory. Fallon, though, turned the ball over on downs when Williams dropped back and tried to run for the first down but was stopped 4 yards short on the Moapa Valley 20.

Monica Ranson/LVN
Fallon’s Daimon Anderson (56) and Jace Nelson (88) converge on Moapa Valley’s Peyton Neilson in the first half.


Another third-down conversion led to Moapa Valley’s final score when Heiselbetz’s 11-yard reception extended the drive. Seven plays later, Wrzesinski ran 7 yards into the end zone to give the Pirates a 42-14 lead with 1:37 left in the game.
Fallon’s defense was strong in the first half, holding Moapa Valley to field goals on its first two drives.
The Pirates completed four plays of greater than 10 yards in their opening drive, including an 11-yard run from Heiselbetz on third-and-10. In the red zone, Moapa Valley converted a fourth down when Neilson’s 4-yard pass to Heiselbetz put the ball on the 10. Fallon, though, stopped Moapa Valley from gaining more yards, resulting in a Craig Anderson’s 31-yard field goal with 3:17 in the first quarter.
Fallon didn’t find the same luck on fourth down on its next drive when Brody Jacks was stopped short on fourth-and-1, but Brady Alves intercepted the Pirates’ first play. Fallon, though, punted after the offense stalled.
“They did a good job in their scheme. They had quick inside linebackers that were tough to block and pick up,” Hill said about the team’s running game problems. “There were opportunities. We just haven’t been a football team the last month where we can work behind the chains. Those are tough downs to come back from.”

Thomas Ranson/LVN
Fallon senior Reese Kincaid hauls in a first-down completion that set up his 5-yard touchdown with 9.5 seconds left in the game.


Jace Nelson’s pass breakup prevented a touchdown in the second quarter, which resulted in Moapa Valley’s second field goal - a 21-yard chipshot by Anderson. The Pirates converted on fourth-and-one with a direct snap for 4 yards after the Pirates gained 19 yards on third-and-20.
After forcing another Fallon punt, Moapa Valley found the end zone when Heiselbetz busted through the line on fourth-and-2 on Fallon’s 32 to extend the lead to 14-0 after a successful two-point conversion with 1:35 left in the half.
Fallon quickly got on the board before halftime when Moon’s 11-yard reception led to Austin’s 17-yard touchdown reception with 16 seconds left. Williams moved to his left and found Austin in the middle of the end zone for the quick strike. The failed two-point conversion gave Moapa Valley a 14-6 lead at halftime.


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